After the state government announced postponement of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exam only three days before it was to be conducted, angry candidates took to the streets in Pune to protest and demand that the exams be conducted as per schedule.
This is the fourth time when the exam date has been postponed, following which angry candidates blocked Shastri Road for over four hours on Thursday. A large police presence and teams of riot control police were deputed on the road to bring the situation under control.
The MPSC entrance exam was scheduled to be held on March 14 and even hall tickets had been issued to students. But given the Covid-19 situation in the state and corresponding directives of the Disaster Management cell, the Commission issued a notification on Thursday afternoon, saying the exams have again been postponed.
The exams have earlier been postponed thrice due to various reasons like the pandemic situation and the Maratha reservation issue.
The angry candidates said they would continue to protest on the streets until a fresh notification was issued regarding the exams. The candidates argued that despite the Covid-19 restrictions, all other entrance exams like NEET and even the Union Public Service Commission entrance exam have been conducted. The National Testing Agency is scheduled to conduct the JEE between March 15 and 17.
“We have been preparing for the exams for the last three to four years. We are from remote areas and have been living in Pune. We have already lost two years due to these delays. Candidates are getting affected due to the delay as there is an age criteria…,” said Amol Keskar, a candidate.
Rohit Tambe, another candidate, said students are ready to take the risk and will appear for the exams while following social distancing norms.
Revised date to be announced on Friday: Maharashtra CM
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday issued a video statement on Twitter, in which he clarified that the MPSC entrance exam has been posted only by a few days and the revised date would be issued by Friday. Asking students not to fall prey to vested interests, he apologised for the delay and asked students and parents to wait for another day.
Thackeray said when the exams were postponed during Diwali, he had assured candidates that there would be no further delay, and later the revised date of March 14 was declared. However, once again the exam has been postponed, since there has been a considerable rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Dnyaneshwar Shelke, another candidate, sought to know when other entrance tests, and even weddings, elections and such events can take place during a pandemic, why was the MPSC entrance exam being cancelled again.
Considering the situation and keeping the safety of candidates in mind, he said it is imperative that staffers who are to be deputed for conducting the exam at centres have to be tested first, and preferably should have received the vaccine.